If you get a chance to see only one French movie, then see this.
I have seen 'Un Coeur en Hiver' many times. I intend to see it for many more years to come. At times I wonder what is that makes me see it again and again. Every time I watch it I find new depths, I find new meanings, I explore new thoughts. The music is too good. I am too ignorant on music to comment any more. But it surely is haunting. The colours in each frame are marvellous, so pleasing to eyes.
Emmanuelle Beart (Camille) and Daniel Auteuil (Stephane) are exceptional in this movie. Camille is charming, focussed, intense but at the same time subtle and vulnerable. Very few can express such controlled emotions. Three scenes are etched in my mind.
One, the way she looks at Stephane after he fine-tunes her violin during her practice session. Nothing is said, except some mono-syllables. Stephane concentrating on her performance, and she judging him, analyzing him -- all expressed with a glance, subtle smile or intense looks. Second, the way she handles her disappointment, anger, sense of betrayal after Stephane rejects her proposal in the car. She waits for her anger to subside, waits to regain self-control and then opens the door and gets out. Superbly acted, so much understated. Third must be one of her finest performance -- the way she lets her lose herself in the restaurant. Sarcasm, indifference, imploration, helplessness, feeling of being betrayed --- all these in sequence in minutes. Then she shivers in anger and explodes and then breaks down. She is ashamed as she is very proud of herself. All these time, Stephane is as cold as winter, not knowing what to do (or he knows what to do but not be able to do it?)
The irony of the movie is that Stephane, a master technician, who repairs and fine-tunes violin strings to make clearer, harmonious music fails to do the same with the broken strings of a gifted violinist.